PDP Xbox Afterglow Wave wired controller review — More than meets the eye

Yes, that was in fact a Transformers reference. I’ve actually been on a bit of a Transformers kick of late, especially diving into YouTube breakdowns of the Michael Bay saga. Sure, there are moments where they’re a train wreck, but overall I like what we’ve gotten. There’s something to be said about the core premise behind the movies, and how strong of a brand Transformers is under Hasbro. PDP is another company that’s laid down a strong foundation, and with their latest Xbox controller has added another device to their army worth having.

Inside the box is pretty simple. You’ve got the Afterglow Wave controller, the detachable 10ft USB-C cable, and paperwork. Yes, it is a wired controller in a world full of wireless devices, but that’s what you’re paying for. There’s also a 1 month trial Game Pass membership, ya know, the best deal in gaming? It’s only for new members, but that just makes this a nice deal for someone picking up a second controller with their new Xbox. That is, given the current trial for signing up for Game Pass is only for 14 days.

Unboxing the PDP Afterglow Wave XBOX controller! [Gaming Trend]

Taking a look at the controller, it doesn’t look like much out of the box. It’s pretty plain, black with the wave design that doesn’t pop. Once you plug it in however, everything changes. It’s kind of early to talk about the RGB, but why not? What’s on the box caught your eye right? The Afterglow Wave is absolutely gorgeous as soon as it’s connected to your console or PC, radiating soft colors that spring off of it. The circular well around the thumbstick also is drenched in RGB, and accents everything perfectly. I’ll talk more about what you can do via the software below, but overall this is why you probably bought it and it’s worth any added expense, cosmetically speaking.

While I love that aspect, I wish the controller was a little rougher in terms of the matte finish. The grip is a bit smooth beyond some mild texturing underneath it, so it’s a little awkward to hold. It’s not bad by any means, but can be noticeable during intense moments. The shape of the controller being slightly different than my normal use one (this one seems a bit thinner and longer than a regular Xbox controller) might have a little bit to do with this, along with my tight grip while playing, so it’s going to come down to a matter of personal preference for the user.

As for using the controller, it feels really stiff. Some of this is it being new, but the buttons are all really snappy, and the triggers have a tight yet long pull. I’m really interested in how long it’ll take to wear this one in, but all that matters here is that the buttons, triggers, and thumbsticks feel responsive. Nothing is too far out of the ordinary, just your standard Xbox Series/One buttons.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a little extra here though. Having audio controls via the face buttons is amazing. There’s a little audio control button down at the bottom middle of the Afterglow Wave (which is used in quite a few functions), and pressing it mutes your headset. Holding it also allows you to use the directional buttons to both raise and lower your volume, along with adjusting the ratio between game and chat audio. To me, this is an extremely valuable function that really should be standard on controllers, so props to PDP for adding this.

There are also back buttons on the Afterglow Wave, something that I almost can’t live without when playing first-person shooters. These feel fantastic to press right out of the gate, and I love how they are built into your natural grip. Not every back button feels good, but these are great. They can be remapped outside of the software as well, by simply holding the audio control button, pressing the back button you want to change, and then the button you’re changing it over to. Easy peasy with remapping is always appreciated.

I don’t usually go on about a USB cable of all things, but the included USB-C is really stellar. I’m surprised that it’s so nice, not being anything special; it’s not braided or anything. It clicks into place easily, and it’s 10ft, which allowed me to stretch it nearly across my room to play in bed. Just like the buttons, it’s stiff as well, so it seems like you won’t have too many issues with tangling either. The only thing I could really ask for is a velcro strap attached so I could easily bind it up. Otherwise, great choice choosing USB-C and making it detachable.

I’ve gone on about the parts of the controller, and when you pool all of them together this makes for a really great piece of gear when playing. I use the much more expensive Victrix Pro BFG from PDP, and this one keeps up with it decently well. Is it as good? Of course not, the Pro BFG is expensive for a reason. But I didn’t feel off while playing Call of Duty multiplayer, which requires precision and clean movement. Really, all the Afterglow Wave needs to do is be competent, and it’s better than that in action.

Lastly, the PDP Control Hub App. I’m a big believer in having good software to adjust your gear with. Apps like SteelSeries GG and Roccat’s Swarm software make an already great device even better, and it’s like that with the Afterglow Wave via the Control Hub. You can adjust so many things in here, remapping buttons, changing your trigger pull and thumbstick sensitivity, adjusting audio, and of course, setting the RGB. As mentioned, the RGB is already stellar, but there are so many settings you can change, along with four profiles to set up to swap with a button press. It’s just the icing on top of the cake, making something already great even better. And you have the app available on console as well as PC? Perfection.

Lead Video Game Editor | [email protected]

David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.

PDP Xbox Afterglow Wave wired controller review — More than meets the eye


PDP Xbox Afterglow Wave wired controller

Review Guidelines

The Afterglow Wave is a great addition to your controller collection. Underneath fly RGB lighting is a great controller bursting with extra features that round out everything you could ask for. All of that, and it has an app to add even more customization on top? Sign me up. Any chance we can get this in wireless, PDP?

David Burdette

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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